Homemade chinking is the process of creating your own cement-like solution to fill in cracks in a log home. There are many ways to make a solution, but two mixtures in particular offer the stability of commercial mixtures with the cost effectiveness of a homemade substance.
Benefits of Homemade Chinking
There are many reasons to use homemade chinking rather than a store-bought or synthetic chinking material. One of the best benefits of making your own chinking is the price. It is usually more cost effective to purchase your own materials and mix them yourself than it is to buy expensive chinking. Homemade chinking also often performs better than synthetic chinking, and it can be applied year-round. If you are restoring a classic log home in period style, it is also important to use chinking materials that were available at the time.
Creating your own chinking at home requires fewer ingredients than you might at first have thought. A large supply of cement, masonry lime and sand should be kept on hand at all times. For a historic restoration with chinking, keep a supply of ashes, silt and clay. You will also want to have a large wheelbarrow, a shovel for mixing, work gloves and boots and a putty knife. For homes with large cracks between logs, you might consider placing some felt or wool fabric between the logs before applying chinking. If you choose to use this method of chinking, you will need a hammer and a narrow, flat tool for pushing the cloth into the cracks.
An easy, modern recipe for chinking is a mixture of 1 part Portland cement, with ½ part masonry lime and 3 parts masonry sand. Mix in enough water with the materials to make it the consistency of cookie dough. The mixture should not be wet enough to run out of the chinks when applied. For a more historically authentic chinking recipe, follow the recipe used for log homes built hundreds of years ago. Use 2 parts clay-like dirt, ½ part silt (which can be a mixture of clay and sand mixed together) and 1 part ashes. Sift the ashes to remove solid pieces in the mixture. Mix the solution with enough water to create a thickened bond. The mixture should look like wet cement when the correct amount of water is added.